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Drew Shaw

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  • One Summer

  • America 1927
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,395
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,274
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,271

One Summer: America, 1927, is the new book by Britain’s favourite writer of narrative nonfiction, Bill Bryson. Narrated by the man himself, One Summer takes you to the summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world forever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day, a semi-crazed sculptor with a plan to carve four giant heads into a mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown, and finished it as the most famous man on Earth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bryson hits another Home Run

  • By Colin on 21-10-13

Entertaining Miscellany of Stories

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-11-16

In this miscellany of well-researched stories about famous figures and events of the 1920s, Bill Bryson is a highly entertaining narrator. Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford, Al Capone and others come to life like never before as Bryson explores aviation, baseball, motion pictures, prohibition, Model T cars and boom-bust politics. Heroes and hero-worshipping are scrutinised satirically - which is possibly Bryson's greatest achievement here. On the other hand the narrative feels a bit disjointed as Bryson shifts back and forth between somewhat disparate stories. And not everything is directly linked to one summer in America in 1927, as one might expect from the title. But in the grand scheme that doesn't really matter if you are prepared to jump with Bryson from one fascinating anecdote to the next. Overall, the experience is enriching and worthwhile.

  • Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction 

  • By: Rolena Adorno
  • Narrated by: Chris Carwithen
  • Length: 4 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2

A vivid account of the literary culture of the Spanish-speaking Americas from the time of Columbus to Latin American Independence, this Very Short Introduction explores the origins of Latin American literature in Spanish and tells the story of how Spanish literary language developed and flourished in the New World. A leading scholar of colonial Latin American literature, Rolena Adorno examines the writings that debated the justice of the Spanish conquests, described the novelties of New World nature, and more.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Poorly presented, boring

  • By Drew Shaw on 18-03-16

Poorly presented, boring

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-03-16

The narration is monotonous and the presentation dull, dull, dull - a very long and formulaic introduction delivered with little or no enthusiasm.

  • London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western World

  • By: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79

No city has had as powerful and as enduring an impact on Western civilization as London. But what made the city the perfect environment for so many great developments? How did London endure the sweeping historical revolutions and disasters without crumbling? Find the answers to these questions and more in these 24 fascinating lectures.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable until..

  • By Dusty Raven on 20-08-15

Enthusiastic Delivery

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-10-15

I loved the enthusiastic narration by an American scholar with heartfelt affection for London and its stoic people. Although the analysis covers millennia and is at times sketchy, it is nevertheless a commendable project and interesting.
Slightly romanticised and tending to glorify monarchy, it will appeal less to serious historians (and republicans!) than to travellers and curios newcomers.